Back in 2018, public adjuster Francine Fox noticed that during a conversation with one of her clients, Marvin Erickson, was frustrated and upset. A Vietnam veteran with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Erickson opened up to her that before Christmas, his family had visited and one of his grandkids was sick. Because he has an immunodeficiency disorder, he could have gotten very sick. “I wish there was a way to remind people that I have a compromised immune system.”
Fox told him she knew of many others with immunodeficiency disorders, including her husband, Bruce, who has an extremely rare lymphoma.
“There must be a way to tell people in an unoffending way that they should remember to be considerate of those with compromised problems,” said Erickson, whose own family wasn’t aware of the seriousness of immunodeficiency disorder.
This conversation stirred around in Fox’s head – Why does this keep happening? And how can we prevent this? “It bothered me that they were in a position they did not want to be in,” she said. “We must take into consideration what others go through – they can’t fight off any infection. We need to give them our respect and courtesy and be mindful of others.”
By Jan. 11, 2019, she had founded the nonprofit Think of Me Please®, LLC. The logo she designed is a smiling face and an abstract mask. Please note the date – it was more than a year before the Covid pandemic when Fox created the organization.
There are more than 130 autoimmune diseases, and 50 million Americans have one or more autoimmune diseases – cancer, COPD, and Lupus are just three diseases that cause immune suppression.
Fortunate people with healthy immune systems can catch a common cold and recover in a few days, but a cold can be deadly for those with compromised immune systems.
Think of Me Please® is an organization focused on promoting public awareness through education related to the needs of patients whose health is compromised either through illnesses or treatments.
“We are dedicated to improving the lives of cancer patients who are immune compromised either due to disease or treatment, those with immunodeficiency disorders and anyone with a condition who would benefit from our mission. Through education we are committed to reducing the added health risks in order to allow for a more fulfilling life,” Fox states on the website.
Fox is the founder and chairwoman and board members include Dr. Dan Layish, a pulmonary disease specialist, and is the medical adviser for TOMP; Dr. Lee Zehngebot, a retired medical oncology specialist with over 44 years experience in Florida; Faith Makka, a Harvard graduate, and is TOMP’s director of community partnerships-domestic and international; Marvin and Shirley Erickson; Rahul Kheraj, UF graduate, is secretary; Rafi Cices, associate director of Value Captures Strategy and analytics at Oscar Health of New York; and Dr. Ben Rothfield, retired general dentist. Geri Goldstein – co-founder of Arnie’s March Against Children’s Cancer, which supports research and clinical trials at Arnold Palmer Hospital – is the fundraising advisor for TOMP and Laura Oswald is in charge of volunteering.
If you would like to learn more about Think of Me Please®, or if you would like to help or be involved, you can make a donation or share your experiences concerning immune deficiency by visiting the website at thinkofmeplease.com or call 407-310-7595.